The Wami/Ruvu River Basin Board chairman Hamza Sadick made this observation during a journalists’ workshop over the weekend on aspects of water resources management held in Bagamoyo, Coast Region.
The workshop introduced on an overview of Water Sector Reforms in the country, functions and roles of Basin Water Boards and the newly adopted Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).
He said Tanzania was endowed with relatively abundant freshwater sources but these were unevenly distributed and increasingly at risk.
On average, Tanzania’s renewable freshwater per capita per year was estimated at about 1,952 cubic meter in 2014, but it is projected to drop to 1,500 cubic meters by 2025.
Furthermore, Sadick said that lack of water due to growing demand and climate change need to alert the nation to take action for protecting water sources threatened by human activities.
Currently, water resources are not well harnessed and many demands are unmet, he said, noting that uneven development in key sectors such as hydropower and irrigation has led to underutilisation of water resources for economic growth.
At the same time, temporal and spatial demands are increasingly emerging as challenges as a result of population pressure in fragile catchment areas, he pointed out.
“Our country faces increased risk because of climate variability, which is a growing threat to the sustainability of critical water-using sectors,” he said, citing these sectors as hydropower, irrigation, mining, tourism, livestock, urban and rural water supply, and the environment.
Managing of water resources sustainably was now recognized as an urgent priority by the different water-dependent sector, the board chairman emphasized.
Representing the Wami/Ruvu river Basin Officer, Mshida Wilson hinted that ways are needed to protect water resources, citing the fact that the Water Resources Management Act of 2009 prohibits conducting human activities within 60 meters along water sources.
It also prohibits human activities in protected zones without permission from the board of Wami/Ruvu Basin, which manages a large part of the country’s catchment areas in the southern half, along with water sources for supplying the city of Dar es Salaam.
"No person shall enter or carry out any activity within Mindu dam protected zone without the permission of the basin water board which has jurisdiction over that area," he said in example.
He said there was a need to take action against individuals violating the law and carry out human activities like agriculture.
“Every person in Tanzania Mainland shall have a duty of to protect water resources and to inform the relevant authorities of any activity and phenomenon that may affect the quantity and quality of water resources,” he reiterated.
Every resident in Mainland Tanzania shall have a stake and duty to safeguard and protect water resources, he added.